International Relations of the Middle East

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Fawaz Gerges CLM 4.06


This course is available on the MSc in Global Politics, MSc in Global Politics (Global Civil Society), MSc in International Affairs (LSE and Peking University), MSc in International Relations, MSc in International Relations (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in International Relations (Research), MSc in International Relations Theory and MSc in Theory and History of International Relations. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

The course is intended primarily for students on programmes run by the Department of International Relations (IR). Students on the MSc in Comparative Politics and MSc in Global Politics may take the course, but this is subject to students demonstrating that they have a grasp of International Relations theory, or have made efforts to cover this ground before starting the course.

All students are required to obtain permission from the Teacher Responsible by completing the Student Statement box on the online application form linked to course selection on LSE for You. Admission is not guaranteed; students external to the IR department must clearly outline the extent to which they are familiar with IR theory/ efforts they will make to familiarise themselves with this area before the course begins.


A knowledge of the international political system, of the major issues in its contemporary development, and at least a basic understanding of core International Relations theory, is required. Background in IR and/or political science and/or history is a prerequisite.

Course content

The course is intended to provide an analysis of the regional politics of the Middle East since 1918, and of their interaction with problems of international security, global resources and great power/super power/hyperpower politics.

Topics covered include: The emergence of the states system in the Middle East during the inter-war period; The interplay of domestic politics, regional conflicts and international rivalries; The Cold War and post-Cold War significance of the Middle East in global politics; The importance of oil and other economic factors and interests; Conflict in the Gulf and the Arab-Israeli conflict; The foreign policies of major Middle Eastern states and the Lebanese civil war; The role of ideologies and social movements: Arab nationalism, militarism, political Islam and global jihadism; State and non-state actors; Democracy and human rights issues, and the Arab uprisings; International relations theory and its significance for the study of Middle East politics.


10 hours of lectures and 12 hours of seminars in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT. 2 hours of lectures in the ST.

Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Formative coursework

Seminar attendees will be expected to submit three 2,500-word essays, based on past examination papers, to be marked by their seminar teacher,  and to give presentations in both the MT and LT.  Students will be also expected to attend the regular public lectures held at the Middle East Centre.

Indicative reading

Students are strongly advised to read before the beginning of the course: F. Halliday, The Middle East in International Relations: Power, Politics and Ideology; Louise Fawcett, International relations of the Middle East, M.E Yapp, Fawaz A. Gerges (Ed.), The New Middle East: Protest and Revolution in the Arab World, Fawaz A. Gerges, The Superpowers and the Middle East: Regional and International Politics, The Near East Since the First World War; Z. Lockman, Contending Visions of the Middle East: The History and Politics of Orientalism; and C. Brown and K. Ainley, Understanding International Relations

In addition they are recommended to consult:; R Hinnebusch & A Ehteshami (Eds), The Foreign Policies of Middle East States; B Korany & A Dessouki (Eds), The Foreign Policies of Arab States.

A detailed reading list will be available on Moodle once course admissions have been confirmed.


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.

There is one three-hour examination in the ST.

Student performance results

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 12.6
Merit 58.3
Pass 26.8
Fail 2.4

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2014/15: 44

Average class size 2014/15: 15

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information